In the world of new product development, the ability to generate buzz prior to and at launch is vital. Not all awareness-driving campaigns are created equal, however – a fact that can be jarring if you’re called upon to justify the cost of marketing efforts. ROI (return on investment) is the number one way organizations judge the effectiveness of marketing and hands down, the most effective form of marketing is still email marketing.
That may be surprising, considering how many analysts have predicted the death of email marketing, but the rise of mobile has actually brought email back. Reading email is the number one thing users do on smartphones, and responsive and hyper-targeted email marketing is leading to conversions like never before.
Of course, being able to utilize the power of email marketing to fuel new product acceptance requires an email list – and that’s where social media comes into play. By leveraging groups on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social media platforms, companies can build an opt-in community excited to learn more about new product launches.
Email Marketing Basics
The fundamental reason to market to customers via email is the ability to reach them where you know they will be. Most people check their email daily, which may be why a company is six times more likely to get a click-through from an email than a tweet and many times more likely to actually gain a new customer via email (even when that company has many fans and followers). There’s just something about email’s ability to communicate news, build loyalty, drive traffic, and sell your product that social media alone can’t match.
Here are some of the best practices that give email marketing the power to convert consistently.
Personalize: Personalized subject lines and email messages are more likely to be opened and have better click-through rates.
Be frequent: Every time you send a newsletter it puts your brand in front of your target audience, leading to better brand recognition. If the information you’re sending is valuable, more frequent emails can also lead to brand loyalty.
Use opt-in only: The higher the quality of your email lists, the more likely it is your mail will get delivered to inboxes instead of spam folders. Better lists mean higher engagement. Never buy lists!
Segment lists: Once you’ve built up a solid email list, segment that list (by location, by buying habits, etc.) to deliver more personalized messaging in your emails.
Building an Email List with Social Media
Reach is the big reason to focus on social media when building your email list and the main reason to add social media supporters to that list. Three quarters of adults use one or more social media platforms, with Facebook continuing to dominate, but those numbers don’t guarantee that users are actually checking those accounts daily or that a given social network’s algorithms will show your content to those users.
That’s why you should ideally be leveraging the power of social media to capture email addresses. First, you can put your call to action (in this case, ‘Join our email list’) in front of people who are already loyal enough to your brand to click ‘Like’ or to follow, and then you have the ability to put content in front of those same people in their inboxes, where they are almost guaranteed to see it.
But that doesn’t tell you how to get email addresses from your social followers. Luckily, most of the popular social networks have built-in tools designed to help you push users to take certain actions.
On Facebook: First, add a call to action on your page that links to your email sign up page – you can also add an app that will generate a call to action box. Then consider using Facebook’s ad system to drive people to that page. You can upload your existing list as a custom audience so you know you aren’t showing your ad to fans already on your list. Facebook also lets you build lookalike audiences made up of users similar to those who’ve already liked your page.
On Twitter: Lead generation cards are a Twitter Ads option that let you promote content while also collecting information from customers automatically. First you create an offer like a free trial or exclusive access to a secret area of your website along with an image, and then Twitter adds a button that collects contact information from everyone who clicks.
On Pinterest: You can create a pinnable, clickable offer that includes an image and an excerpt from a blog post. When a user clicks, they are prompted to sign up for your email list to access the pinned content.
Across channels: Keep putting opt-in asks out there on a regular basis to make sure that new fans and followers know you have an email list.
Don’t forget your existing lists: Add in any contacts from your email, accounting software, CRM or anywhere else you may be keeping valuable potential client information.
Keeping the Momentum Going
If a significant number of those fans and followers were unaware you had an email list, you may find you get a lot of opt-ins the first few times you post. Eventually, however, this surge will slow and your next task is convincing users who are hesitant to sign up that it’s worth their while.
- Make sure you’re focusing your energy on the right social channels. Do some digging to determine the demographics of the primary users of your product and then see where that demographic is spending its social media hours. Facebook is usually assumed to be the go-to choice but Pinterest, LinkedIn, or even Snapchat could be better options.
- Contests are still a big driver and the upside is that they attract plenty of attention – and email opt-ins, if you make that an entry point. The downside to contests is that you’ll get sign ups from people who are less interested in your brand than in the contest. Shortstack is one tool to help you create Facebook contests that port entries right into the major email marketing tools.
- Treat your social profiles as a lead generation tool and put a call to action on everything. There should be links to your sign up page placed strategically on the content that will be most attractive to fans and followers.
- Use social media monitoring so you never miss out on an opportunity to communicate with potential email opt-ins who have expressed an interest in your company.
Taken together, all of the techniques outlined above can result in a steady flow of leads that are not only receptive to your brand messaging but also excited about your upcoming product.